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Explore the JW Marriott, a luxury downtown Grand Rapids hotel. River views, prime location, and comfort await in Beer City USA.
The beautiful lobby was as inviting as the JW’s signature fragrance, Rooted, wafting through the air.

As a first-time visitor to Grand Rapids, Michigan, I was excited to explore this vibrant city known for its thriving beer scene, cultural attractions, and friendly Midwest vibe. My home base for this adventure was the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, a 4-star luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Hotel District in Downtown Grand Rapids.

Let me tell you, this wasn’t just any hotel stay. As a solo female traveler, I’m always looking for accommodations that offer comfort, safety, and a touch of indulgence. The JW Marriott Grand Rapids delivered on all fronts and then some.

This impressive property, the first JW Marriott in the Midwest, boasts 331 refined rooms and suites spread across 23 floors. I spent three nights in a 400-square-foot King room with a breathtaking view of the Grand River. It was my second time staying at a J.W. property (my first was in New Orleans), and I was eager to see if it would live up to my high expectations.

Spoiler alert: It did. But let’s dive into the details, shall we?

Explore the JW Marriott, a luxury downtown Grand Rapids hotel. River views, prime location, and comfort await in Beer City USA. Travel blog hotel review
Spacious king room that I had all to myself.

First Impressions: A Sensory Welcome

You know how they say first impressions matter? Well, the JW Marriott Grand Rapids nails it from the moment you step through the doors. As I entered the lobby, I was immediately enveloped by a familiar scent – the JW Marriott’s signature fragrance, “Rooted.”

Now, I’m a bit of a fragrance enthusiast, and this scent hit all the right notes. It reminded me of one of my favorite soaps from Lush – Sultana of Soap. The calming aroma of sycamore wrapped in purifying sage, with uplifting notes of herbs, cedarwood, and sandalwood, created an instant sense of relaxation. Additional notes of sweet tonka bean and amber rounded out the scent, making me feel right at home.

This attention to detail set the tone for my entire stay. These little touches elevate a hotel experience from good to great, and the JW Marriott Grand Rapids was off to a strong start.

Nighttime view from my 14th floor king river view room at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids - hotels downtown Grand Rapids.
The views from my river view room, especially at night, were amazing!

Room with a View: My Home Away from Home

After checking in, I made my way to my room on the 14th floor. Now, I usually prefer high floors, but I accidentally selected to be near an elevator in my preferences on the Bonvoy app. Pro tip: double-check your preferences before booking!

Being near the elevator wasn’t an issue for most of my stay, but on the last night, when the hotel hosted a wedding party, there was quite a bit of elevator traffic and noise throughout the night. If you’re a light sleeper like me, you might want to request a room further from the elevators.

But let’s talk about the room itself because, wow, what a space! The floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows made the already spacious room feel even more expansive. They also let in an abundance of natural light and offered stunning views of Downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River. I was constantly drawn to the window, watching the city come alive in the morning and wind down in the evening. The strangest thing is dusk didn’t occur until around 9:30 PM, so we had long days. Thankfully, the room was equipped with amazing blackout curtains.

The room was equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel:

  • A large flat-screen TV with premium cable channels (CNN, ESPN, HBO) and Netflix
  • A mini-fridge (perfect for storing leftovers from the amazing restaurants nearby)
  • Coffee and tea maker (because who doesn’t need their caffeine fix?)

As a solo female traveler, safety is always a top priority for me. I felt completely secure in my room, though I did bring my trusty doorstop with an alarm. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit under the door, but the hotel’s overall security measures put me at ease.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids Bathroom in the King river view room.
I loved the size of the bathroom. Plus, it looked elegant.

Bathroom Bliss (Almost)

The bathroom was a marble lover’s dream. Spacious and gleaming, it featured an oversized bathtub that looked incredibly inviting. Full disclosure: I have a thing about using hotel bathtubs, so I didn’t indulge, but it certainly added to the luxurious feel of the room.

J.W. Marriott - Downtown Grand Rapids Hotel_King River View_Toiletries

I appreciated that the shower was separate from the tub, but here’s where I encountered my only real gripe with the room: the shower featured a rainhead. Now, as a Black woman with 4C hair, a rainhead shower is not the optimal choice. I would have loved a dual showerhead option for more flexibility.

On the plus side, the lighted makeup mirror came in handy when I needed to get ready for the conference I was attending and for heading out at night. The bathroom also included the usual amenities: a hair dryer and a plush robe that I may have lived in during my downtime.

J.W. Marriott Grand Rapids_Crabe Royale Entree
My Crabe Royale Entree

Dining Delights (and a Few Misses)

After a long day of travel, my boss and I decided to dine at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Margaux, on our first night. Margaux bills itself as a classic French bistro meets the sophistication and luxury of the JW Marriott brand. It was the closest and easiest option, which was exactly what we needed.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids - Margaux Onion soup au gratin
The onion soup au gratin was delicious! It was the best part of my meal.

I started with the onion soup au gratin and shared the Braised Octopus. For my main course, I opted for the Crabe Royale—king crab tagliolini with sweet corn and thyme beurre fondue. I’ve made a similar dish at home using ditalini pasta, and I hate to say it, but my version was better.

East of Eden vodka and cucumber cocktail from Margaux at JW Marriott Grand Rapids
East of Eden cocktail.

The cocktails were hit-and-miss. I tried La Bandida Verde, a jalapeño-infused el jimador blanco tequila concoction with celery, suze aperitivo, agave, and lime. It was good, but I could have used a bit more spice and tequila. My boss had the East of Eden, made with Wheatley vodka, cucumber, lemon, honey, thyme, and ginger. She enjoyed it but felt it needed a stronger pour of vodka.

Overall, the food at Margaux wasn’t the best hotel restaurant fare I’ve had. It wasn’t bad by any means, just not as impressive as I’d expected from a JW property.

Hotels Downtown Grand Rapids with a Starbucks
Having this Starbucks in the lobby was just what I needed
Hotels Downtown Grand Rapids with a Starbucks
Having this Starbucks in the lobby was just what I needed

On the caffeine front, there’s an onsite Starbucks where you can use your Starbucks card to keep racking up those points. The drinks were hit or miss, but I appreciated having it there for my morning coffee fix.

There’s also JDEK, an outdoor extension of Margaux, but I didn’t get a chance to experience it due to high winds during my stay.

Amenities Galore (Even If I Didn’t Use Them All)

The JW Marriott Grand Rapids doesn’t skimp on amenities. The hotel boasts an indoor heated pool and a fitness center. Full confession: I forgot to pack my swimsuit and gym clothes (I try to pack light and avoid checking a bag), so I didn’t get to use either. But they looked inviting!

There’s also a spa on-site. Usually, when I travel, I try to squeeze in some spa time. But this was a work trip, and everything was go, go, go! So, I didn’t have a chance to indulge. Next time!

Grand Rapids Art Museum _Downtown Grand Rapids_hotels downtown grand rapids

Location, Location, Location: The Heart of Downtown Grand Rapids

One of the biggest pros of staying at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids is its prime location in Downtown Grand Rapids. You’re right in the middle of everything here. More than 200 restaurants, shops, performance venues, and cultural sites are within a 10-minute walk of the hotel.

During my stay, I took full advantage of this. One evening, my colleagues and I walked about 15 minutes to one of my favorite breweries – Founders Brewing. It was fantastic to be able to enjoy some of Grand Rapids’ famous craft beer scene without worrying about transportation.

The hotel is also close to several museums, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, which we visited and saw some amazing art installations. There is also the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. While I didn’t have time to visit on this trip, it’s good to know it is nearby for future visits.

LOVE Sign Downtown Grand Rapids_travel blog
I love it here!

The Verdict: Would I Stay Again?

After three nights at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, would I book another stay? Absolutely.

Here’s why:

  1. The hotel is gorgeous. From the lobby to the rooms, everything exudes luxury and comfort.
  2. The staff was friendly and attentive throughout my stay.
  3. Cleanliness is a top priority here. My room was spotless, and the entire hotel was well-maintained.
  4. The views of Downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River are spectacular.
  5. The location can’t be beat. You’re right in the heart of everything Grand Rapids has to offer.

While minor hiccups (like the rain shower head and the so-so restaurant experience) weren’t enough to detract from an overall excellent stay.

Founders Brewing Company Grand Rapids

I’m already thinking about my next trip to Grand Rapids. This time, I want to bring my husband to experience “Beer City, USA” together. And who knows? Maybe we’ll even bring the kids for a family adventure. With so much to see and do in Grand Rapids and the JW Marriott as our luxurious home base, it’s bound to be a fantastic getaway.

So, if you’re looking for a Downtown Grand Rapids hotel that offers luxury, comfort, and an unbeatable location, the JW Marriott Grand Rapids should be at the top of your list. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, solo or with family, this hotel provides a perfect blend of sophistication and Midwest charm. Trust me, your stay in Grand Rapids will be all the better for it.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids

235 Louis St NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503


JW Marriott Grand Rapids hotel review. luxury hotels downtown grand rapids